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poltroon

[pol-troon] /pɒlˈtrun/
noun
1.
a wretched coward; craven.
adjective
2.
marked by utter cowardice.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; earlier pultrowne, pultron, poultroone < Middle French poultron < Old Italian poltrone idler, coward, derivative of poltro foal < Vulgar Latin *pulliter, derivative of Latin pullus young animal; see foal
Related forms
poltroonery, noun
poltroonish, adjective
poltroonishly, adverb
Synonyms
1. dastard.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for poltroon

poltroon

/pɒlˈtruːn/
noun
1.
an abject or contemptible coward
adjective
2.
a rare word for cowardly
Word Origin
C16: from Old French poultron, from Old Italian poltrone lazy good-for-nothing, apparently from poltrīre to lie indolently in bed, from poltro bed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for poltroon
n.

"A coward; a nidgit; a scoundrel" [Johnson, who spells it poltron], 1520s, from Middle French poultron "rascal, coward" (16c., Modern French poltron), from Italian poltrone "lazy fellow, coward," apparently from *poltro "couch, bed" (cf. Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona "couch"), perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German polstar "pillow;" see bolster (n.)). Cf. also -oon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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